I made this tractor cake for my son’s second birthday. I looked at images from his tractor books, then drew a pattern on newsprint. This is not too hard – you can trace around appropriately sized cups or bowls to make the wheels, then the rest is mainly straight lines.

I baked 4 cake layers in my usual round pans, then placed the pattern pieces on top and cut with a serrated knife. I covered a board in aluminum to use as a base, then I assembled the pieces together.

I made 3 batches of buttercream frosting: one uncolored, one chocolate and the third colored with red food dye. (It takes a surprising amount to make it red rather than pink.) I roughed up the frosting on the wheels to suggest heavy tread, then added some black outlines with a frosting tube. I used black licorice candy for the exhaust pipe, the steering wheel and the number two.

I think the best part was the addition of my son’s photo in the driver’s seat. We just cut this image out of an existing photo. The cake says “Auguri” rather than “Happy Birthday” because we live in Italy!